Interviewer: 'We are supposed to do the right things...'
Retired US Navy SEAL: 'Do you know what the right thing is?'
Interviewer: 'Well...not to kill innocent civilians...'
Retired SEAL: 'You don't have any idea. Not to be rude or anything, but one person's...what they think is the right idea is, is completely opposite from what the other one is. That's why we have to solely focus on our Leadership, our Admirals, who have been around and have been through all of this and they make the calls and it flows all the way down to us and we follow our orders to the T. Being in the SEAL teams we're outside of the box thinkers. We're not idiots. Most SEALS have their degrees and a lot of them have their Masters and we've been in this game for a very, very long time. So the thing that we ask - not out loud - we hope and pray that the American public has enough trust and faith in us to do and make the right decision....It's war and there is no right or wrong answer...'
To dismiss this response as the predictably military gung-ho blind 'We just follow orders' is to ignore some powerful insights into good decision making in the most extreme circumstances that also translates to the every day.
Navigating a good decision requires a fixed north - the Widget.
The Widget is designated by the Leader.
The decision maker accepts the Widget as the creation of a person who they trust - even if that trust is that there will be money in their bank account each fortnight.
Implicit in the dynamic between Widget, Leader and decision maker is that the decision maker continues to choose the Widget.
If I sneer at this equation it's either because my Leaders are managers or I choose not to choose.
'Right' and 'Wrong' are irrelevant.
It's all about the Widget.